Travel Training Service

Information for parents of learners with additional support needs who wish to develop the skills and confidence to travel safely, confidently and eventually independently.

What is the Travel Training Service?

The City of Bristol College Travel Training Service is a travel training scheme for learners with additional support needs who wish to travel on their own.

The scheme is available for learners at the Ashley Down Centre, College Green Centre and South Bristol Skills Academy.

The Travel Training Service provides a safe place to try out independent travel, learn new skills and build confidence.

The scheme supports learners to overcome barriers by empowering them with tools that facilitate their inclusion and opening doors for their futures and their transition into adulthood and employment.

Who is the Travel Training for?

Travel Training is available for all learners with additional support needs who wish to use buses independently in alternative to being supported by parents or staff or using a taxi or community transport/mini-bus.

Some of the learners we support have never had the opportunity to travel independently before, while others are already independent in some routes and they wish to learn a new route or to improve their confidence and safety.

Why do Travel Training?

Travel Training can help learners travelling safely, confidently and eventually independently.

Travel training has an important role in promoting young people’s independence. It helps people with road safety and awareness skills, how to plan a route, look at ways to stay safe when out and about while helping people building up their confidence to travel safely and independently.

Travel Training makes a real difference in young people’s lives, empowering them with the skills and confidence to travel independently to access the community, to use public transport, public services and accessing opportunities such as education, employment, sport and leisure activities or visiting family and friends.

Reduction in social care funding has had an impact on transport access for people with learning disabilities, which emphasizes the need for alternative and cheaper means of transport to owning a car, using a taxi or getting a lift.

Travel Training helps with issues people face when using public transport including the fear of getting lost, being bullied, harassed, or discriminated against for having a learning disability.

It promotes inclusion and participation, enabling people to connect with others without having to rely on a lift or a taxi service.

It develops people’s skills and resources, improves their self-confidence and self-esteem, a sense of community belonging and social participation, promotes employability, and access to an income, enabling people to achieve their goals and to build their life project.

How does it work?

The travel training sessions are structured and planned by the Travel Training Coordinator and are delivered on a one-to-one basis by the Travel Training Coordinator and the team of travel buddies, covering topics of:

  • road safety and awareness,
  • personal safety,
  • planning a journey,
  • travel skills and using public transport,
  • money skills,
  • concept of time,
  • appropriate behaviour and
  • communication.

The scheme as a team of travel buddies, people with learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum conditions, who have completed a structured training programme and deliver travel training out and about in the community. They help with road safety and awareness skills, how to plan a route, and look at ways to stay safe when out and about while helping trainees build up their confidence.

As people with a disability, they have a unique perception of the needs and difficulties that their peers face in their lives and travels.

After an initial interview and assessment with the learner and parents/carers, a training plan is designed for the individual – usually around 25 sessions, depending on previous travel experience and skills.

Travel Training involves working on a one-to-one basis along the routes and is individually tailored to suit that learner’s needs.

During the training the level of support given is gradually reduced. Most of the training is done in a practical way and involves observations whilst out using public transport and crossing roads to make sure they are safe.

It also shares valuable resources with the learners like the Avon & Somerset Police Safe Places Scheme and the Bristol Hate Crime Service that people can freely access to help them overcome issues like the fear of getting lost, harassment and bullying or other bad experiences.

A travel training pack is provided to the learners, containing useful Easy English information covering relevant topics such as how to keep safe when out and about, a checklist of what to carry when out and about, how to cross the road safely, how to use the bus, what to do in scenarios of missing the bus, a bus broking down, having an accident, feeling unwell, being bullied or harassed.

To help learners feeling safe and confident when out and about, a tailored travel wallet is provided to the learner with relevant information for his/her journey such as bus numbers, and times, emergency numbers and speaking cards.

What are the Benefits of Travel Training?

From our experience, people who complete travel training feel more confident, happy and more willing to try new things, go to new places and meet new people.

Travel Training helps people to connect with others in their community, access education, employment, services, sport and leisure activities, or visit family and friends.

By staying physically, socially and professionally active people are improving their quality of life, self-esteem, promoting their physical, mental and social health and raising expectations about what they can achieve.

By learning new skills and developing the confidence to travel independently people are opening doors to their own personal and social development, their professional growth and self-achievement, fulfilling their lives with the choices they make and tackling isolation through social inclusion and community participation.

It can make the difference between being able to attend a training course or to get a job.

Other benefits include a reduction in care responsibilities and being able to save money when compared to other more expensive travelling alternatives.

Having a Choice

We believe that there is no independence without choice and there is no choice without opportunities.

The Challenge

We understand that it can be very hard to do the transition from supported travelling to independent travelling.

Changing from the comfort of a parent’s lift or a taxi to using public transport independently can be a challenge but the reward gained and the sense of independence achieved is unique.

That feeling of knowing that you can is amazing and it helps people feeling more confident and happy with themselves, willing to try new things, to go to new places and to meet new people.

More information about travel training

If you would like more information about the service or to make a referral please contact our Travel Training Coordinator, Helder Pedro: